Bookworm Problems: Library Limitations

IMG_20170326_130303_990The library is normally such an amazing place. I’d probably put it on my top ten list of places to be. But, recently, my library and I haven’t been getting along. Which is not cool, since I’ve been trying to utilize the library more often these days. [Quick explanation: for financial reasons, I am trying to cut back on the number of books I buy (y’all know it can be an expensive habit), and I don’t want to illegally download books, so the library is practically my only real option for reading books I don’t already own.]

Anyway, back to my library issue…about six months ago, I started a book series in which there are currently twelve published novels. Until I hit book seven, things were great. I’d check out the e-book on Overdrive (or place a hold and wait for my turn with the book), and then happily spend the next few days reading. But then, after finishing the sixth e-book, I went to check out e-book number seven and realized that my library did not have a copy of the book. I would’ve been okay if there was a hold placed on the book, and I had to wait a couple weeks to check it out, but there was nothing. Not one copy. I even checked my local branch, and they didn’t have a physical copy either. Skip forward two books, and the library has the remainder of the series. It just doesn’t have books seven and eight. So frustrating! I did recommend that my library purchase both books so that they had the complete series, but in the mean time, I had to find another way to read the books, preferably one that didn’t cost money. Thankfully, my friend’s library had available copies of the e-books, and she gave me her Overdrive password so that I could check out the two missing books through her library.

But then, I hit a reading slump with the above-mentioned series, so I thought I’d switch things up and start a (much shorter) series that I’d seen recommended on Bookstagram. I was in the mood to read the physical copies, so I went to my local library, and quickly found books two and three in the series. Not seeing the first book, I went to the nearest computer to search the book catalog, and what did I find? My library doesn’t own a copy of the first book in this trilogy. Only the last two. Why? My first thought was that maybe they had an e-book version. But I was wrong. Thankfully, a different friend had purchased the e-book on Amazon, and it was a book that you could lend to others (such a great feature on Amazon, and I wish it worked for all Kindle books), so I read the e-book version of the first novel and checked out the remaining two from my library.

I know that libraries don’t own every book ever. There are many reasons that libraries do or don’t carry certain books. But, if you’re going to include most of the books in a series in your inventory, it seems logical to have all of them. And with the e-book versions, the library can’t even try to claim that they once had the book but someone failed to return it because that shit is automatic.

I guess it’s a good thing I have friends who love to read as much as I do; otherwise, these library limitations would have cost me (literally)!

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Monthly Unboxing – April 2017

It’s the end of the May, so it’s high time I post my unboxing from April. In April, I was subscribed to three book(ish) subscription boxes: Owl Crate,*  Uppercase, and Nerdy Post. I know, I know…Nerdy Post is a fandom based subscription box and isn’t limited to the printed word, but most of the fandoms they feature are at least book-adjacent!

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Owl Crate – April 2017

Let’s start with my newest subscription! April was only my second month subscribing to Owl Crate, but so far I’ve been loving the books and bookish merch featured in each month’s box. April’s box was curated with Becky Albertalli’s new book The Upside of Unrequited as its centerpiece, and it was spectacularly done. This box included:

  • A hardcover copy of The Upside of Unrequited
  • A signed bookplate
  • A letter from the author
  • An awesome emoji sticker
  • A key chain (designed by Bookworm Boutique), featuring a quote from Albertalli’s first novel: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • A Pride and Prejudice headband (created by Storiarts)
  • A beautiful art print inspired by the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (created by Evie Bookish)
  • One of three exclusive Rainbow Rowell inspired candles (I got Baz & Simon) created by Novelly Yours. It smells amazing!
  • A delicious dessert tea blend inspired by Anna and the French Kiss from The Tea Spot

Everything in this box was so awesome, but I definitely think my favorite is the emoji sticker. I could’ve definitely used the cringe-y heart-eyes emoji when I was in high school (and while at university!).

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Uppercase – April 2017

Next was the Uppercase subscription box. I’ve been subscribed to Uppercase box the longest out of my three subscriptions, but I recently cancelled it (for financial reasons), so May will be my last box (probably not forever, though). April’s box included:

  • A signed copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
  • A Defy the Stars magnet
  • A Tolkien inspired woodmark (created by Ink & Wonder)
  • A Harry Potter Notebook
  • The usual bookmark that gives members exclusive access to the Uppercase “reading experience.”

I was pretty happy with the contents of April’s Uppercase box. All of the products were high quality, and the “reading experience” is something that I haven’t seen with other boxes. I think my favorite from this month’s box is the Harry Potter journal, which was completely unexpected. Although I had to give up this box for financial reasons, I hope to re-subscribe one day!

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Nerdy Post – April 2017

Last, but certainly, not least, was April’s Nerdy Post box. Alexis Lampley, the creator of Nerdy Post, outdid herself with this Middle-Earth inspired box. I am a huge Tolkien fan, and I love to see beautiful art inspired by his works, so this box was a dream come true! It included:

  • a poster featuring one of Gandalf’s many inspiring quotes,
  • a mini-print featuring another Gandalf quote and a beautifully-rendered picture of Frodo as he embarks on his journey (drawn by the the lovely TJ Lubrano),
  • a double-sided bookmark featuring Treebeard and a Tom Bombadil quote on one side and the Riddle of Strider on the other (which is the side you can see in my photo),
  • washi tape featuring the script from the One Ring,
  • a fat bookmark featuring a quote from The Hobbit on one side and  a quote from The Lord of the Rings on the other,
  • a penny from Gondor (created by Shire Post Mint),
  • a sticker featuring the eye of Sauron and a quote from The Silmarillion,
  • a one-sided bookmark featuring one of my favorite Bilbo sayings (the other side is an advertisement for Nerdwicks),
  • and a color-able postcard featuring an extremely detailed picture of Smaug (which I am nervous to color).

It’s tough to say what my favorite part about this Middle Earth box is because everything is so wonderful. But, if I had to choose, it would probably be the bookmark with the Tom Bombadil quote and drawing of Treebeard. Two of my favorite minor characters in The Lord of the Rings! The Gondor penny is also super cool, though! And, I wish I were better at coloring…I’m nervous about how my Smaug postcard will turn out (I know it’s possible for it to turn out ridiculously awesome because Alexis shared another subscriber’s completed postcard and it was f***ing fantastic!).

Overall, April’s subscriptions were awesome, and I would recommend any of the three boxes to someone who is looking to get great products for a great price! Do you have any suggestions for other subscription boxes I should try? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!


*The Owl Crate link is a referral link, so if you click on it and then end up subscribing to Owl Crate, I will receive points that may eventually lead me to receiving a free box.

Bookworm Problems: Judging a Book by Its Cover

We’ve all heard some variation of the platitude “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but I think we can all admit that we, in fact, do judge books by their covers. I know I do it, and I recently talked to some fellow bookstagrammers, and they all admitted to it as well. But can you really blame us? We’re only human, and humans are predominantly visual creatures.

It’s not that an ugly or amateurish cover will stop me from reading a book, but it’s definitely not going to draw my eye like the brightly-colored, amazingly-designed cover next to it. When you go to a bookstore or library, unless you’re looking for something specific, you browse by sight, so a unique, pretty, colorful, professional, etc. cover is going to grab your attention over the drab offerings around it. And if you’re more inclined to pick up the visually-pleasing book, it’s likely you’ll expect it to contain a higher quality story within its pages.

Unfortunately, this can quickly become a problem. Because if you only ever pick up the books that you find aesthetically pleasing, you’re sure to miss out on some great stories. And, a pretty cover and snappy summary do not mean that the book will be great. I should know . . . I’ve been let down by some rather beautiful covers, recently. At least they still look good on my bookshelf and in the Instagram photos, right? 😂😂😂

Have you recently been duped by a beautiful cover?

 

Bookworm Problems: Reading Slumps

 

The dreaded reading slump: a bookworm’s worst nightmare. We’ve all been there, starting and stopping a dozen different books because none can hold your attention for more than ten minutes. Sometimes it lasts a day, sometimes it goes on for months, and in rare instances, it can last years.

I’m hoping the reading slump I’m currently in is on the shorter end of the spectrum, but it’s already been two weeks, and I haven’t found a fix yet. I’ve tried switching genres, reading old favorites, looking on blogs for new recommendations,  and moving to a new reading spot. But, nothing has worked, and I am ready to take drastic measures.

So, I think I’m going to take a reading break. Maybe watch Netflix and work on the back-log of reviews I need to write to ease my way back into things. I’m bummed that I won’t reach my reading goal this month, but I’m not going to force myself to read; that takes all the fun out of it.

Question of the week: What’s your go-to method for escaping a reading slump?

Bookworm Problems: Traveling with Books

20170217_200513On Tuesday, I drove eight hours to see my younger brother swim at his last collegiate swim meet, a championship meet that runs Tuesday through Saturday. And since I’m only in town for the swim meet, I knew I would be spending most of my off hours in the hotel, with nothing to keep me busy except for the television in my room and whatever I brought with me as entertainment.

So, when packing for this trip, I knew that I’d need at least a few books to make the trip with me. But, with so many books to choose from, I was left with an almost impossible task. Thankfully, there were still two books left on my February TBR list, so those automatically made it into my suitcase. But I wasn’t sure two would be enough. And that’s when the tough decisions had to be made.

For those people who aren’t avid readers, it probably seems like I’m exaggerating, but a true bookworm will understand the conundrum I faced. There are so many different questions that need to be answered when deciding which books to take and which to leave behind. I had to consider how much space I had in my luggage, whether the books needed an extra layer of protection to keep from being bent or ripped (especially important for paperback books!), what type of book I might be in the mood to read (my book choices are very mood specific!), if taking an e-reader was feasible (i.e., would there be adequate access to electricity and WiFi) and how much time I thought I would spend reading (over-packing books isn’t quite as bad as under-packing, but it still isn’t optimal!).

With so many things to consider and not enough time do so, I took the easy way out and packed an e-reader. Two actually (one back-lit and the other not). Thankfully, this trip was one in which I would have constant access to electricity (to recharge my e-readers if needed) and WiFi (to download whatever book tickled my fancy). But I don’t always enjoy using my e-reader. I often prefer the feel of a real book in my hands when I escape into the world of fiction. Which is why I still brought physical books, as well. It’s nice to have the option to pick up a real book every once in a while. And one of the books I brought was actually a library book that I’d already finished, but I lent it to my mom so she could read it this week instead of waiting for a copy to be available from her local library!

Now, I did spend the first two days I was in town exploring the local university and downtown area, and I get to spend an hour at lunch with my brother each day (visitation hours are limited because the swimmers are supposed to be focused on the meet, and they have other obligations like schoolwork!). So, I did spend a good part of my “down time” not reading in my hotel room. But, this week, I have managed to finish two books, and I’m halfway done with a third…and my mom already finished her book and returned it to me!

As such, it seems like this trip was a success when it comes to the books I brought! But that hasn’t always been the case. Especially when bringing an e-reader isn’t an option!

Question(s) of the week: Do you prefer to take physical books or an e-reader with you when traveling? Does the length of the trip make a difference (e.g., day trip, weekend getaway, two-week vacation, etc.)?

 

***I would like to end this post by saying that I recognize and acknowledge my privilege in this situation.  I know not everyone has the same opportunities, and I am lucky to live a life where these are the “problems” I am facing.

Books & Candles

If you catch me at home with a book in hand, you are likely to find a lit candle on the nearest flat surface. I love burning candles when I read, especially when I can find a scent that complements the mood or setting of the story. It really elevates the experience (and I find it quite relaxing!). For a long time, I bought traditional candles (you know, the ones with titles like Spring Garden, Love in Paris, Lavender Linens, etc.), but that all changed the day I found book-themed candles. Creative minds from all sorts of fandoms have created the perfect scent to match the plots and characters from so many beloved novels (and even some movies & tv shows). So no matter if your exploring Middle Earth, dancing the night away under a star-filled sky, searching through dusty tomes for the perfect spell, or gathering forces to overthrow an evil empire, there’s a candle out there that will help your imagination run wild!

In the picture below, you can see a sampling of the candles I am currently hoarding in my apartment. And, yes, I do actually burn them all…but not all at once)!

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Do you burn candles when you read? Any scent in particular or just whatever you have lying around???